In a leaked email obtained from the US Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it has been revealed that Microsoft gaming CEO Phil Spencer discussed the possibility of buying Nintendo.
The email, sent on August 6th, 2020, to Microsoft’s chief marketing officer Chris Capossela and commercial chief marketing officer Takeshi Numoto, suggests that Nintendo may be open to the idea of an acquisition. This speculation stems from San Francisco investment fund ValueAct purchasing Nintendo stock and potentially influencing the company’s board towards accepting such a deal.
Spencer starts the email by stating that he agrees with Takeshi that Nintendo is an excellent asset for Microsoft in the gaming industry. He mentions having conversations with Nintendo’s leadership team about closer collaboration and believes that Microsoft is in a favorable position compared to other American companies. However, he notes that until recently, Nintendo’s board of directors had not actively pursued further market growth or stock appreciation.
Spencer reveals that ValueAct CEO Mason Morfit has been acquiring shares of Nintendo, indicating potential opportunities for collaboration between the two companies. Despite this positive development, Spencer acknowledges that there are no immediate prospects for a mutually agreed merger or hostile takeover. Instead, they plan to play the long game and wait for suitable circumstances.
Interestingly, Spencer also mentions Valve and its popular Steam platform as another potential acquisition target. Although rumors about Microsoft buying Valve have circulated over the years, Gabe Newell (Valve co-founder) dismissed these speculations back in 2007.
The leaked email also hints at other ongoing discussions regarding possible acquisitions by Microsoft in the gaming industry. Specifically mentioned are Warner Bros Interactive and ZeniMax. While negotiations were underway at that time, it is worth noting that both deals eventually materialized months later.
Regarding these discussions with Warner Bros Interactive and ZeniMax, Spencer sought approval from Microsoft’s chief financial officer Amy Hood and CEO Satya Nadella. Despite ongoing discussions about acquiring TikTok, which eventually fell through, Hood and Nadella expressed their support for all three potential deals if they made sense strategically.
Spencer acknowledges that there are obstacles to overcome with both Warner Bros Interactive and ZeniMax. With Warner Bros, the biggest challenge is intellectual property ownership, as Microsoft would not gain any rights to the IP. In the case of ZeniMax, it’s a matter of aligning valuation expectations with its founders. However, Spencer believes that one or both acquisitions are likely to happen and will strengthen Microsoft’s position in gaming.
The leaked email provides insights into Microsoft’s acquisition strategies and its desire to expand its presence in the gaming industry. While potential deals with Nintendo, Valve, Warner Bros Interactive, and ZeniMax were discussed, it remains uncertain whether any of these acquisitions will come to fruition.
It is important to note that Microsoft has a history of acquiring various companies within the gaming industry, such as Mojang and Ninja Theory. However, consolidation within the industry raises concerns about potential impacts on creativity and diversity.
For more details on this leaked email and other revelations from the Microsoft-FTC proceedings, you can refer to this article.
Why this is important
The blog post reveals an email from the CEO of Microsoft’s gaming division, Phil Spencer, discussing the possibility of Microsoft buying Nintendo. This is important because it could potentially impact the future of gaming and the types of games available to children.
- The email suggests that Microsoft sees Nintendo as a valuable asset in the gaming industry.
- It mentions that an investment fund called ValueAct has been buying up Nintendo stock, which could make Nintendo more open to an acquisition.
- The email also mentions other potential acquisitions by Microsoft, including Warner Bros Interactive and ZeniMax.
- Acquiring these companies could help Microsoft strengthen its position in the gaming market and provide more content for players.
- However, it’s important to note that these are discussions and nothing has been confirmed yet. Consolidation in the industry can have both positive and negative impacts on consumers.